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How to Stop People From Emotionally Abusing You

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Emotional abuse can occur in any relationship including a marriage, friendship or even among colleagues. Emotionally abusive relationships involve one person exerting control or dominating the other person which leaves the victim feeling powerless. Emotional abuse leaves the victim feeling dependent and worthless. When emotional abuse exists in a relationship, you may experience yelling, shaming, blaming, name-calling, intimidation and isolation, according to HelpGuide.org. The abuser nor the victim may recognize emotional abuse for what it actually is, says Maria Bogdanos, an emotional health coach and author of PsychCentral.com's article "Signs of Emotional Abuse." Even without visible scars, the effects of emotional abuse can be devastating.

Assess the situation. In intimate relationships or severe cases of emotional abuse, it may be impossible to deal with an emotionally abusive partner, according to HealthyPlace.com. Courage and assertiveness are needed to stand up to an emotional abuser, who will often closely resemble a typical childhood bully. In situations such as the workplace, seek out assistance from co-workers, human resources or your supervisors.

Practice assertiveness in various situations in your life. This will help you to gather your strength and courage to stand up to the abuser, according to HealthyPlace.com. For example, if you are able to speak up to your boss about the bonus you have yet to receive, you will find it easier, although not simple, to begin to assert yourself with people who are emotionally abusive.

Keep your emotions in check as emotional responses may give emotionally abusive people the chance to abuse you further. Rational, well thought-out responses stated in a clear, calm voice have a better chance of making a positive impact. For example, the next time someone is being emotionally abusive, while appearing confident, look him in the eyes and in a serious tone, tell him, "Don't put me down. I want you to treat me with respect."

Take charge of your relationship with the emotional abuser. You will not find peace by accepting abuse, Dr. Phil explains on his website. See your part in the relationship and change the manner in which you relate to the abuser. For example, if your husband criticizes and demeans you for the way you cook dinner every single night, let him know in a calm, rational manner that you will no longer tolerate the abuse. Tell him that if it continues, you will have to share the cooking responsibilities with him so he has the chance to eat food that he truly enjoys. Follow through if necessary.

Leave the emotionally abusive relationship if you are unable to stop the abuse. Contact law enforcement if you feel threatened in any manner by your abuser. Emotional abusers are often unable to change on their own and sometimes the only healthy alternative for a victim is to permanently break free or to seek professional help.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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